Things To Do in HumewoodPenguin Patrol with Raggy Charters
Where? Raggy Charters, Port Elizabeth Harbour, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
When? Booking is essential.
How? Call +27 (0)73 152-2277
How much? Falls into price group R1001 to R1500 per person. Confirm with the provider.
African penguins are an endangered species, having suffered major declines in numbers in the last decade. But, the largest breeding colony of these entertaining marine birds can still be found at St Croix Island, which is just off the coastline of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
Raggy Charters is a local company that is based at the Port Elizabeth Harbour and is committed to showcasing the invaluable marine life of Nelson Mandela Bay and to educating visitors about the importance of maintaining a healthy biodiversity and about the cute characteristics of these unique birds. The tour, aptly called The Penguin Patrol, is a full-day excursion, and includes meals, refreshments and a number of different facets. This makes it perfect for young and old locals and international visitors alike.
The Penguin Patrol leaves from the Algoa Bay Yacht Club at the harbour at 08h15. The boat cruises to St Croix Island, where the penguins can be seen playing, swimming, diving and sliding around in their usual (read: amusing) way. However, their superior swimming and diving antics are also perfectly displayed as visitors look on in an unobtrusive way, appreciating the fantastic abilities and adaptations of the penguins.
Along the way, visitors have the insights and information resources of experienced guides that keep a keen ear and eye on global and local trends in terms of marine life and sustainability. This info is not only fascinating, but also an important part of learning our part in the protection and care of South African fauna and flora. Of course, the bottle-nosed dolphins cannot be left out of the adventure and frequently frolic around the boat out of sheer curiosity.
In addition, there are Cape fur seals, sharks and other marine birds that frequent this area and are just as interested in you as you are in them, so keep an eye out for these ones. Between the months of August and December, southern right, humpback and Bryde’s whales can also sometimes be seen, which is always a very special treat.
From the island, the boat heads back to the Yacht Club for a delicious lunch at The Chartroom Restaurant. Once refreshed, visitors will then go to SAMREC, which is a rehabilitation centre for marine birds, situated in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve. Many of its residents are African penguins that have been injured or caught up in oil spills.
At present this centre is saving around 17% of the existing population of African penguins from death every year. A tour around the centre is fascinating, but also allows visitors to interact with the animals and watch them be fed, nursed and cared for.
The shuttle then collects visitors and takes them to Bayworld Museum, Snake Park and Oceanarium along the beachfront. The resident seals and penguins here are funny and entertaining, making for fabulous exhibits, as they were too badly affected by pollution or injury to be returned to the wild. Once you have seen the animals and the museum, you may elect to be returned to your accommodation in Port Elizabeth or to the harbour.
Some of the profits of the Penguin Patrol are given over to marine conservation and research initiatives. This means that, as a tourist to the Friendly City, you may actively be helping to improve the current situation for the precious African penguin.